On May 4, Green Schools National Network (GSNN), in collaboration with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council, announced the recipients of the 2018 Best of Green Schools Awards. The awards were announced during the closing plenary of the Green Schools Conference and Expo, held May 3 – 4 in Denver, Colorado.
This year, the Best of Green Schools Awards recognized 11 individuals, institutions, and projects that represent the best environmental efforts in schools across the country and highlight the national leaders and innovators in school sustainability.
“Every movement needs leaders and this year’s Best of Green Schools honorees reflect the transformative leadership that is needed to move the green schools movement from niche to mainstream,” said Jennifer Seydel, GSNN executive director. “I applaud their passion and selfless dedication to co-creating a sustainable future for us all.”
The 2018 award winners include:
Ambassador: Christos Chrysiliou (Los Angeles, CA)
As Los Angeles Unified School District’s director of architecture and engineering, Chrysiliou has provided remarkable leadership, integrating measurable sustainability goals and promoting green practices across the district, city, and country.
Business Leader: Legrand North & Central America (West Hartford, CT)
In addition to thousands of dollars raised for several Green Apple Day of Service projects in schools across the U.S., Legrand employees have supported a variety of efforts including a solar-paneled garden shed and a green playground.
Collaborator: EcoRise (Austin, TX)
EcoRise is a pioneer in K-12 sustainability education, serving more than 400 schools with innovative and proven curricula and teacher training that has impacted 50,000 students. With EcoRise’s support, students have reduced campus energy bills, installed gardens, reduced campus watering needs, and more.
Higher Education Institution: Chatham University’s Eden Hall Campus (Pittsburgh, PA)
Chatham University’s new Eden Hall is self-sustaining in every way. By protecting valuable watersheds, incorporating surrounding land and agricultural resources, and rehabilitating existing farmland, Eden Hall is a one-of-a-kind venue for education, conferences, community outreach, and ecotourism.
K-12 School (K-8): Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School (Maplewood, MO)
Maplewood Richmond Heights Middle School believes that sustainable schools provide all community members with the greatest opportunities for success. The school has integrated sustainability and green practices into its curriculum, including lessons in gardening, aquaponics, urban chickens, beehives, composting, and rain gardens.
K-12 School (High School): Eisenhower High School (Goddard, KS)
Eisenhower High School aims to prepare its students to make sustainable decisions every day, fostering environmental literacy and stewardship by incorporating the environment into lesson plans, including its award-winning outdoor wildlife learning site, 14 garden beds, and nature trail.
Moment for the Movement: Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly (Madison, WI)
The Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly is a peer-reviewed digital journal that highlights evidence-based practices for green, healthy, sustainable schools. The Quarterly’s in-depth coverage includes qualitative and quantitative research, and explores emergent issues like net-zero energy, waste, and water.
School System: Oak Park Unified School District (Oak Park, CA)
As the first U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School District in California, Oak Park Unified School District models creative environmental education strategies, including building a classroom entirely from recycled sea containers and eliminating pesticides and rodenticides from the districts’ pest management system.
Student Leader: Maegan Rosario (Ewa Beach, HI)
Maegan Rosario is an exceptional advocate of environmental stewardship, consistently committing her free time to maintaining her school’s aquaponics system, garden, and vermicomposting bin and coordinating community beach clean-ups and recycling drives.
Transformation: Marumsco Hills Elementary School (Woodbridge, VA)
Since forming a student-led Green Team, the culture at Marumsco Hills Elementary School has transformed into one that values sustainability, with students actively collaborating with staff and administrators to implement green programs.
Policymaker: Kathy Gebhardt (Boulder, CO)
An instrumental player in passing the 2008 legislation establishing the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) capital construction grant program, Gebhardt remains a strong advocate through her leadership on the BEST board. Her work has helped fund 319 requests to address deteriorating school facilities in Colorado, positively affecting nearly 180,000 students.